Speech Sound Development & Pronunciation
When children start off speaking, most of their words are not clear and this is normal and often very endearing. Children making errors on sounds has a typical progression and we expect similar errors at different stages of development with most speech being clear by age 7 in typical development. There are pronunciation errors that we expect as well as those we do not expect. For example, many children will produce the wrong sounds in certain places i.e. tat for cat (this error process is called fronting), dun for sun (error process called stopping). When children make errors, they need support to listen to the correct production again and again to encourage them to move through these error stages therefore there is lots you can do to help. However, it can be difficult to determine whether children are having trouble with the words as well as pronunciation. If you have trouble understanding your child, seek advice from a speech and language therapist in order to determine if their speech sound errors are within normal development or if additional support is required. In the meantime, here are some tips: Model sounds back correctly without telling your child they have said it wrong. Saying, “Yes its a “bussssss” emphasising the sound they need to fix without the pressure of asking them to say it again. They will definitely have a go if they feel confident to do so. Confidence is key. If a child feels confident, they will likely take more of a risk and that gives you a chance to model it back again even if they still get it wrong. Sing songs together to support awareness of sounds and rhythm and Play Sound/Rhyming Games such as I Spy to boost their awareness of sounds as they develop. Have fun playing with sounds!